I struggle. You struggle. Everyone struggles. Maybe we all have different weaknesses, but we all have at least one major cross to bear. And one thing that helped me during my journey into recovery was having someone to talk to. Someone who I could say anything I wanted to, and they would just keep on loving me no matter what.
That's what an accountability partner is. Someone to be there with you through every step of your journey. They're a shoulder to cry on, a friend to rejoice with, and a mentor to give you advice when you seem faced with an impossible decision. From what I've seen from humanity, almost everyone would like to be that friend. That's why I'm going to help you become a superhero accountability partner. And for those who are married or close to it, you and your spouse are accountability partners to each other, so these next five tips are for you, too ;)
1. Make Promises to Each Other
This has to be the first step. Otherwise, what are you going to hold them accountable for? Some examples from your partner would be: "I promise to call you if I'm having a panic attack or am feeling suicidal" or "I promise to go for a run if I'm feeling depressed" or "I will turn off my computer if I start getting into stuff that makes me feel depressed." And some examples of your promises would be: "I promise to pick up the phone and talk to you if you call" or "I promise to go running with you if you're feeling depressed" or "I promise to listen to you and walk with you on your journey." Of course, these are just examples, but they can make a big difference to someone who's struggling. It lets them know that they're not alone in this journey and have someone they can rely on. Of course, be absolutely positive to only make promises you can keep.
2. Schedule Regular Checkups
This can be a brief text to see if your partner has been keeping the promises made in Step 1, or can take longer when discussing the day, week, or month. It lets then know they are important to you and you're thinking of them. Make a habit and stick to it. Irregular meetings or messages will mostly likely not to be as helpful as regular meetings.
3. Challenge Each Other
Another reason to have regular checkups is to make a specific challenge to each other every time. Challenges could include something as simple as brushing your teeth twice a day or as difficult as running five miles every day. It helps me to start small, then I gradually set my goals higher and higher as I accomplish them.
4. Hold Each Other Accountable
Now, I know this sounds like the "no, duh" step, but when your partner fails in their challenges or promises, you need to hold them accountable. They messed up and need to know it. But I'm not saying beat them down because they failed. Of course not! I'm saying they need to know you care and want them to try harder not to make the same mistake again because you believe they can succeed. Remember, part of their motivation to succeed should be to not let you down at your regular checkups. No human wants to disappoint someone they look up to.
5. Be the Example
If you mess up your promises or challenges, admit it. Be sorrowful. If you're not working on the challenges that your partner is giving you or sticking to your promises, how is your partner going to? They're your accountability partner just as much as you are theirs. You build each other up. You struggle together. You win together. As a team. As friends.
So, now you know how to be that help to your peers! If you have any other thoughts about being a great accountability partner, let me know in the comments below so I can learn as well.
There's a reason why I'm so transparent about my difficulties, my failings, and my story. You all are my accountability partners. Whether you like it or not. I want to grow to be a better person and help you all in the process.
That's what being unashamed is all about.